Friday, July 6, 2007

A party, chez Schnabel

The first draft of this stunning and technically intricate Arnold Schnabel sonnet appears to have been written on the very night described in our previous installment (Part Six) of his memoir, Railroad Train to Heaven. It first saw light of day in the Olney Times of July 13, 1963, and once again one must wonder what the editor of that august publication (Silas Willingham III) thought of Arnold’s increasingly challenging verses, if indeed he thought about them at all. (Brought to you thanks to the very good ladies and gentlemen of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)

(Note; the phrase “antic hay” comes from Christopher Marlowe’s play Edward II {1593}, Act One, Scene One: "My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawn, shall with their goat feet dance an antic hay". A “hay” was a playful, joyous dance. Antic Hay is also the title of a novel by Aldous Huxley.)


Alone is not so bad; I breathe the air
And it’s my air; I look at the sky
And it’s my sky; I go for a walk
And this is my world. And now I stare
At things seen clearly with my mind’s eye,
At dark thrashing trees who whisper and talk
Among themselves in a gas lamp’s glare,
As the singing ocean six blocks away
Asks to join the party; it will bring wine
And music, and fishes and loaves, and rare
And precious sweets, and dance an antic hay
Amidst five million stars: all this is mine.
Alone is not alone; I sit in this chair,
Alive at long last, and ready to dare.

(For links to many other Arnold Schnabel poems, and for entrée into his previously unpublished memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, go to the right hand column of this page.)


Anonymous said...

Oh boy, Arnold's flipped his lid again. Can we say narcissistic personality disorder?

Anonymous said...

Cripes, Becker, the guy's talking about like a mystical experience! Give him a break. I still think he's kind of cute.

Anonymous said...


Dan Leo said...

Dear Anon, from that glorious mansion in Heaven, where he sits sipping Manhattans in the company of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Wm. Shakespeare, Arnold sends his thanks for your appreciation.

Anonymous said...

"it will bring wine"
..yeah man